Here’s how you can support child life at CHoR this Halloween
October 14, 2022
Spirit Halloween manager Ray Smith with members of the child life team at a Spirit Halloween party before the pandemic.

    As one of the country’s top retailers of Halloween costumes, decorations and accessories, it’s no surprise that Spirit Halloween finds joy in helping thousands of people get ready for trick or treating. While giving people a good-natured fright is in the company’s DNA, the retailer knows that fear belongs in haunted houses and corn-mazes – not hospitals. That’s why they created the Spirit of Children program – an initiative that provides monetary donations to support child life departments across the country and makes hospitals less scary by providing costumes, accessories and decorations from local Spirit Halloween stores.

    Now through October 31, customers can use promo code DONATE22 when making purchases online to receive 10% off their order and have an additional 10% donated to CHoR. Customers making in-store purchases can make donations at check-out to increase the impact for local kids.

    In addition to all the in-store excitement, Spirit Halloween also brings the fun straight to the hospital floor each year by providing costumes, decorations and other Halloween goodies to ensure kids and families get in the holiday spirit.

    This partnership makes a major impact every year. Since 2010, we have received $873,600 – with $178,816 donated in 2021 alone! This year, CHoR and Spirit Halloween hope to celebrate the $1 million milestone of lifetime giving.

    Among many benefits, the partnership between Spirit Halloween and CHoR has allowed the child life team to grow from four to 14 team members—all dedicated to serving children and families in our emergency, behavioral, inpatient, radiology and mental care environments.

    “The hospital can be overwhelming, especially during COVID,” said Heather Rossi, CCLS, CPST, senior child life specialist for CHoR. “Our child life team helps kids cope with the anxiety of diagnoses and procedures, and makes the experience a bit less stressful for the whole family. The generosity of the teams at Spirit Halloween and people throughout our community ensures we have the tools to do this successfully – from medical teaching dolls to playrooms that allow kids to unwind and feel like themselves again. If the pandemic has taught us anything it’s that we’re all in this together, and we couldn’t be more grateful for this remarkable support.”

    From supporting a patient during an unfamiliar experience in our emergency department to preparing them for MRIs, blood draws, and other potentially stressful procedures, our team may employ a number of different therapeutic tools or techniques to enhance the patient or family member’s comfort level or situational understanding.

    One family that saw how child life bridges the gap between home and the hospital is the Clarys. In September 2020, 11-year-old Carmela Clary was involved in a utility terrain vehicle (UTV) accident that sent her to CHoR for emergency surgery, followed by recovery and therapy.

    Carmela’s mom, Angie, credits the child life team for helping ensure Carmela enjoyed memorable childhood moments, like movie and music nights. On a particularly special occasion, the child life team made sure Carmela could take part in her sister’s wedding via FaceTime and arranged for a special dress and decorations in her hospital room. Carmela made a full recovery and is back to dancing and playing softball, but she’ll always remember how child life made her time at CHoR just a little bit easier.

    The lengths child life goes to help families cope and find comfort are immeasurable. The team finds creative and innovative ways to help each child thrive. At the end of the day, it’s the comments and thank you notes from parents, patients and guardians that remind them going the extra mile is always worth it.

    Angie Clary said it best when she shared that “Sometimes the smallest things you do can affect people in really big ways.”

    And shopping at Spirit Halloween is another small thing you can do to make a big impact on children’s health.

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